My Equinox Resolutions

OK, I’ll admit it. I hate making New Year’s resolutions. Winter is the time when I feel like hibernating, not getting out and doing new things. However, now that February is drawing to a close and Daylight Savings Time will soon lengthen our days, I feel like it may be time to set some goals that will help me improve how I look and feel. I’m not planning on losing 30 pounds or running a marathon, but on actions that will improve my health, both physical and mental, and make me feel better about myself. Low pain, big gain! If you’d like to join me in my spring equinox resolutions, let’s get started.

My first resolution is deceptively simple, and doesn’t cost much, if anything: drink 6 to 8 glasses of water each day. Water is great for your body; it flushes out toxins; fills you up when you feel hungry; doesn’t have lots of empty calories, additives, or preservaDior Sunglassestives; and just helps you to feel better. If you’re not a fan of plain water, try adding a slice of lemon, lime, orange, or–my favorite–cucumber to add a hint of flavor. Or try sparkling water, like San Pellegrino. Start with 2 to 3 glasses and work your way up to 6 to 8. You will notice a difference quickly! Some women prefill Ball jars with flavored waters so they are ready and waiting for them in the fridge when they feel thirsty or need a drink to take along.

My next resolution is to eat close to the source. This means eating foods as close to their origin as you can. A baked potato is great; French fries, not so great. An apple is faboo—apple tarts, not so much. Opt for fresh fruit and veggies when you can, and stay away from processed foods with additives and chemicals to the extent you are able. You’ll feel better and your body will appreciate it.

My third resolution is one that I talk about a lot, but still have a hard time doing: keep moving. As little as 30 minutes of movement a day–walking, running, yoga, playing sports, doing chores–can help get you fit and keep you fit. It doesn’t have to be all at once—break it into 10 minute chunks if that works for you. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, carry groceries in from the car one bag at a time, walk your dog a little further each day. Sitting too much is not good for you, so if you are desk bound, take a break at least every hour and move around.

My next resolution is to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night. Your body rejuvenates during sleep, so if you get too few hours of rest, you may find yourself cranky, out of sorts, and feeling poorly. Too much sleep and you may start to put on pounds. So, I’ll aim to get 7-8 hours each night whenever possible.

My final resolution is to wear sunscreen every day. I have purchased a good moisturizer that is SPF 30 and will use it on my face and neck every day. When the weather gets warmer, I’ll look for a body moisturizer with a strong SPF rating and use that on my body every day, too. Sunscreen is for always, not just in the summer time. The winter sun is just as strong if nor more so, especially when reflected it reflects off snow of ice. I’m hoping these resolutions will take me from spring into summer feeling better and looking good.

Move It!

Staying young and feeling young are about more than coloring your hair or keeping a positive mindset. If you truly want to stay young, then move your body. Several years ago, research found that lean women were more physically active thanExercise will keep you healthy and happy
obese women–well, that stands to reason and isn’t a big surprise. The particulars, however, were interesting: obese women sat 2-1/2 hours more each day, stood 2 hours less, and spent half as much time moving as fit women.

Exercise helps us to stop and often reverse age-related losses in muscle mass, bone strength, the capacity in our hearts and lungs, and flexibility. Every hour you move results in increases in bone density, and active people better retain the size and strength of their muscles. Exercise helps release stress, and can lift a blue mood. It’s never too late to start, so where do you begin?

So, how can you easily get more movement into your life? Walk your dog every day–and if you don’t have a dog, borrow a neighbor’s dog. Avoid drive-ins–banks, library, and restaurant pick-ups. Instead, park your car and walk in. Better yet, park at the edge of the lot and walk to and fro. You’ll still get your task completed, but will have worked in some exercise as well.

Other ways to sneak in exercise are to walk up escalators rather than letting them carry you up, or trading elevators for the stairs. If you work in an office, set the furthest printer on your floor as your default printer and walk back and forth to get your printouts. And if you need to talk over some issues with a coworker, suggest she or he walk along with you as you two brainstorm.

Yet more ways to work movement into your day: carry your grocery bags in one at a time, doubling or tripling the trips to the car. Make a few laps around the grocery store to get in some walking. And walk or ride your bike to do errands when feasible and practical.

If you really want to increase your movements, get up and change the channel instead of using the TV remote. Pace or stand when you talk on the phone. Better yet, turn that TV off and make your social life more active–meet friends for walks, stroll through a museum to see an exhibition, play pool or darts or Ping-Pong, go bowling, or play mini-golf. Exercise doesn’t have to be drudgery, and you’ll be feeling so good with all the extra movement that pretty soon sitting will seem passé.

Knee High to a (Fashionable) Grasshopper

Shoes, Glorious ShoesDo you know which color socks to wear with which item? Let’s take a look at this burning issue. Remember, no issue is too trivial to the well-dressed.

With athletic wear (shorts, pants, and sneakers), it is acceptable (and we encourage you) to wear white socks. And that’s it. Please, no white socks in any other situation. None!

With blue jeans, gray or navy socks are the best matches. With black jeans, opt for black socks to keep a sleek look. Black socks are also great with black pants. Unless you are Garrison Keillor–then you can get away with red socks.

With brown pants, go with brown socks if you like to play it safe. If you don’t, why not try a pair of pink socks? So cute! Pink and brown go so well together.

With gray pants, black or gray socks provide the best matches.

With other colors of pants, remember that socks should complement the color of the pants, not clash with it. You don’t want all eyes on your ankles. If you don’t want to go to the bother of matching, opt for gray socks.

When selecting knee highs to go with a skirt (ah, those were the days!), socks should match either the shoes or the skirt. If not sure, match the shoes.

At all times, make sure the elastic in your socks is taut so they don’t droop down your ankles, making you look like the Elephant Man or Woman. And no holes, please. These details may seem small, but can detract from your otherwise chic and well-dressed appearance.

So Many Products, So Little Time, Part 3

We complete our overview of WWD Beauty Awards for 2013. For the Mass Brand of the Year, NYX Cosmetics (named for the Greek goddess of the night) won with its assortment of makeups and colors. It is affordable (products range from $6 to $9) and has funky, fun items such as an ergonomically shaped eye liner (the Curve Liner), a great matte lipstick in a range of 21 shades, and a multipurpose Wonder Pencil. Fun and flirty, the best news is that these items are available at Target so you don’t have to sacrifice your budget for beauty.

The winner of the Prestige Brand of the Year, according to WWD, was—what else?—Chanel. Chanel has produced luxurious skin care products and cosmetics, and last year was no different. Their Les Beiges color collection helped to make nude shades hot once more, while their Le Lift skin care products were popular with women hoping to give their complexions a boost. Chanel’s packaging speaks of opulence while being minimalist at the same time, not an easy feat. And the brushes they provide with their blushes and powders are as amazing as any top of the line brush available for separate purchase.

The WWD Launch of the Year, Mass Market, went to L’Oreal Paris Advanced Haircare. The Advanced Haircare line was in development for 5 years, was tested on 5,000 women, and holds more than 23 patents. It consists of five lines: Total Repair 5, Smooth Intense, Power Moisture, Color Vibrancy, and Triple Resist; each line contains a shampoo, conditioner, and treatment. So, you can tailor your regimen to your specific need. And, best of all, products are available everywhere and run in the $8 to $15 range.nyx cosmetics

The final category to cover is Prestige Launch of the Year, which was awarded to Mark Jacobs Beauty. This line consists of 122 stock pieces and comes in four witty categories: Smart Complexion, Hi-Per Color, Blackquer (get it?), and Boy-Tested/Girl-Approved.  I have his mascara and one of his lipsticks, and am over the moon about both. Jacobs’ love for the transformative power of clothes has infused this line of cosmetics, and the results are the stuff wow is made of.

So Many Products, So Little Time, Part 2

Giorgio Armani lipstickIn WWD’s Prestige Beauty Winners of 2013, the Color Cosmetics Category winner was Giorgio Armani Rough Ecstasy CC Lipstick. This 36-lipstick collection is Triple-C for color, comfort, and care. The colors are fabulous—some soft, some brilliantly intense, all beautifully tinted. These lipsticks treat as well as color to lips, marrying lip balm and lip stick in a dynamic duo. At $34, they are luxury purchases, but are still flying off the shelves in the U.S.

Ibuki by Shideido took the Prestige Skin Care category. Seven products comprise this offering, which targets 20-somethings and their specific skin issues: lack of sleep, oiliness, visible pores, and rough skin from shall we say less-than-optimal nutrition. The cleansers, moisturizers, and refining products tackle all of these problems and constitute serious skin care for millennials who want a product formulated specifically for them rather than their mothers or grandmothers. Products are in the $25 to $45 range, so let’s hope those millennials have disposable income.

The Prestige Hair Care category went to Color Wow Root Cover Up, a product that covers up gray between sessions with the hairdresser. This solid powder pigment is applied with a brush, and is selling like gangbusters at Ulta and on QVC, and is part of a line of products crafted to address various problems that occur with color-treated hair. It comes in a range of tones so that you can best match your color. Ulta offers Color Wow for $29.50.

The final category in Prestige Beauty Products, Fragrance, was captured by Modern Muse by Estee Lauder. Modern Muse mixes feminine notes (jasmine) with strong notes of wood to create a modern, stylish scent, a break from so many of the Estee Lauder perfumes that remind me of what my grandmother would wear. The 3.4 oz. eau de parfum retails for $98 at Macy’s.

So Many Products, So Little Time (Part 1)

At Doris’ Closet Consignment, we realize that looking great is more than what you wear–it encompasses your face, your hair, your body, and your attitude. We love beauty products, and are always eager to hear about new ones to help us look and feel our best. Therefore, when Women’s Wear Daily (WWD) recently came out with their 2013 Beauty Awards for new products that rock cosmetics, skin and hair care, bath and body, and fragrance, we took notice. We’ll share these winner with you over the next few posts–after all, we need to keep up on what is available if we’re going to look (and know we lookSonia Kashuk) the best we can.

First up, in Mass Market Color Cosmetics, is Cover Girl’s Clump Crusher by Lashblast Mascara. It may be a mouthful, but this mascara features a curved brush that is designed to deliver 200% more volume after 30 strokes. Cover Girl’s research showed that many women use 100 to 300 strokes to get the volume they desire (giving me the image of Tammy Faye Baker), so this saves quite a bit of elbow grease and women of the world should be grateful. The bristles prevent clumping, so that the clumps don’t even form on the brush.  At $6.89 (drugstore.com), this is well worth a try.

WWD Beauty Product of the Year in the Mass Skin Care Category is L’Oreal Paris Age Perfect Glow Renewal Facial Oil ($24.99, drugstore.com). Facial oils have been growing in popularity, and this blend of eight essential oils works as a moisturizer, nighttime treatment, make-up primer, and neck cream, making it a great multi-tasker (and money saver) for your skin.

The Infinity Pro by Conair Curl Secret captured the WWD Mass Hair Care category. At $99.99, this tool curls hair without clamping or rolling, heats up in 30 seconds, and has style settings for curls, waves, and ringlets.  I can’t quite picture how it would work, but sales and response have been phenomenal, and this method definitely is kinder to hair than curling irons.

The final category in the Product of the Year Mass Color Cosmetics is Fragrance, and Target’s own Sonia Kashuk took this honor with her bath and body collection. Items include oils, lotions, creams, and body washes in fragrances as luxurious as tuberose, amber, and magnolia; and grapefruit, verbena, and musk. Prices top off at $19.99, providing luxury for a sensible amount of money.

Project Runway All Stars, Episode 10: Is U.N. or Is You Ain’t?

christian-dior-rtw-fw2013-runway-34_115256386086Right off the bat, can I just spoil the whole thing and say how happy I am that Seth Aaron won? He flew under the radar the whole season, he didn’t throw temper tantrums or hissy fits, he didn’t doubt his vision or what he was setting out to do, and he wasn’t a drama queen. He made beautiful, unique clothes, his collection was coherent and exciting, and was a nice guy to the end. Bravo, Seth Aaron.

That being said, I felt sorry for Elena and Korto, because they produced some beautiful clothes, too. And were nice people who didn’t feel the need to tear down the other contestants. Elena did cry a lot, but hey, it’s Elena. The maturity level really rocketed this season from previous ones.

The episode started with Alyssa explaining that the final challenge was for these remaining All Stars to design a six-look collection to showcase their talent. They would have 4 days to do so, and the inspiration was to come from their cultural heritage: Eastern Europe/Ukraine for Elena, Spain for Seth Aaron, and West Africa/Liberia for Korto. To help them become immersed in their cultures, they were to visit the Headquarters of the United Nations, where they would meet with the Under-Secretary-General for Communications, Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal and the ambassador from their country of heritage. After their meetings, they were instructed to stay and sketch at the U.N. Alyssa also explained that the final runway show would be held at the U.N.

The three designers met with Mr. Launsky-Tieffenthal, who had the most charmingly unplaceable accent I’ve heard in a while. Korto then met with George S.W. Patten, Sr., from Liberia; Seth Aaron met with Fernando Fernandez- Arias from Spain, and Elena met with Yegor Pyvovarov from the Ukraine. It was touching to hear Korto talk about the collections she has taken back to West Africa and the local models she has used. I was surprised to learn that Elena came to the U.S. at the age of 10—what different backgrounds these designers come from!

The designers rush on to Mood, where they have one hour and $2000 to shop for material. Back at the workroom, they get cracking and surreptitiously eyeing what the others are doing.

Day 2 and here comes Zanna to raise the anxiety level, making everyone second guess themselves about their collections. Tim Gunn, where are you? You have such a light touch, leavening your criticism with solid advice. Come back to Project Runway, Tim Gunn, Tim Gunn. But Zanna does bring reinforcements—each designer gets a helper for 24 hours. It’s SO GOOD to see Christopher, Viktor, and Jeffrey again. The workroom doesn’t seem as deserted.

On Day 3, Alyssa shows up with the Expected Unexpected Twist. They must use fabric from some collection (they didn’t bother to put the name up in a banner, so I didn’t bother remembering it) in a SEVENTH DESIGN. They really do know how to bring the stress level on this show. At least half of the seventh design must come from this fabric. Elena freaks out because of the patterns in all of the fabrics, but Viktor administers tough love and she comes down from the ceiling and gets to work.

On Day 4, there are protracted fittings, visits to the Ulta and Mary Kay salons, and trips to the QVC accessory wall. Before you know it, we are transported to the United Nations—aw, and there are Mychael and Daniel and Ari and all the other All Stars from this season. And there’s Zac Posen, who is also a guest judge this week, along with Gayle King from the Oprah dynasty.

All three shows go very well, but in the end there can be only one winner, as we have been reminded time and again. Elena’s collection is lovely, but not much new there so she is second runner-up. Korto has some stunning pieces, and a unique vision, but she has some taste problems with skirt lengths and fit. In the end, Seth Aaron has the best “Wow” factor and a beautifully cohesive collection, and so he takes the prize. Champagne glasses clink, people hug and congratulate, and we’re out. Ciao, bellas!

Belt Up!

Do you want to accessorize with a belt, but are uncertain what the right belt is for you? Well, fret no more. The secret lies in selecting the right width and wearing it at the optimal position on your body, according to stylist Jacqui Stafford in her fabulous book, The WOW Factor. The bigger your chest is, the lower the belt should sit on you. Do you want to accessorize with a belt, but are uncertain what the right belt is for you? We will be looking at different belts for different shapes this week. The secret lies in selecting the right width and wearing it at the optimal position on your body. The bigger your chest is, the lower the belt should sit on you.

Only wear belts over form-fitting clothes–if you wear them over chunky jackets or knits, you will look ginormous. If you have a classic hourglass shape, a slim belt worn at your natural waist will flatter your silhouette.

If you have a straight, slender figure (translation: not too many curves), wear a wide belt at your natural waistline to add the illusion of curves by cinching in and drawing attention to your midline.

If you are pear-shaped and carry your junk in the trunk, opt for a 2- or 3-inch belt that sits below your natural waistline. Any belt that is too wide or worn at your waistline will draw attention to your butt, and we don’t want that.

If you are larger on top than on the bottom, look for 2-inch belts to wear slung low on your hips. This will widen the distance between chest and hips, and elongate your torso.

If you have a wide waist, belts can be tricky because they draw attention to your problem area. However, a slim belt (an inch or less) worn under an open cardigan or jacket will work, in that folks will just catch a glimpse of the belt, helping to create the effect of having a waist.

Just remember that belts are supposed to enhance your figure and waistline, not detract from it. Choose the right width belt and the right placement between waist and hips, and you will look great! (By the way, Doris’ Closet Consignment has many great belts from which to choose, so check out the racks next time you are in. And don’t be afraid to ask for our opinion! We’re happy to share it.)

Project Runway All Stars, Episode 9: Fashion Cares—About What?

jean-paul-gaultier-fall-2013-couture-01_130805461840Big apologies for skipping the last episode where Viktor was auf-ed (what do they call it when Alyssa kicks them to the curb? Any ideas?). The holidays were too busy and I missed the episode, but I can’t say I was shocked to learn that Viktor was the one booted. He has been very erratic all season, so I was not shocked to see his picture on Lifetime’s site with the banner o’ bye-bye underneath the photo.

So let’s move on, shall we? As the episode starts, Alyssa pauses behind the big runway screen and pauses in an attitude. What does she do that every week? Just come on out, already. Or do hand gestures that look like animals. That would be different.

Anyway, she eventually appears and tells the designers that they are going to be designing Ready-to-Wear this week, working with Michelle Smith of Milly to come up with a piece that must retail for $400. It’s a 2-day challenge, they will use the materials Michelle Smith designed, the winner’s look will become part of the Milly collection, and all proceeds will go to the Save the Garment Center fund (this takes Alyssa five minutes to explain, with all of the adjectives she uses).

The designers show up at Milly’s workroom in the Fashion District (there’s that big button and needle!). Michelle shares with them that her first job was working for a coat company, and that’s where she learned the fashion business. She tells the designers that she is looking for an urban tribal look for her collection. It must fit into the Milly aesthetic, which is feminine with an edge. The price must retain for $400, and they must get the CEO’s approval of their design to ensure it will be within the price parameter.

It is really interesting to see the workroom at Milly, with the fabrics and workers busy at their sewing stations. Christopher is looking at the stretch leather, which he has never used. Call me a pessimist, but I don’t think this is going to go well. Elena is going to use her favorite neon color, and confides that “Win or lose, I’m gonna do it being Elena.”

The cost consultations are fascinating (to me, at least) because this is a side of the fashion business we seldom get to see on this show. Andrew Oshrin discourages the use of multiple zippers because of the cost involved, and cautions against too much of the woven fabrics, which will make the cost skyrocket.

Back at the workroom, everyone gets to it. Elena is zipping along when her sleeve rips. You can only imagine the drama that ensues. She’s miserable which means everyone else will be until she pulls herself together. She announces she’s going to make another dress. Korto has this what the look on her face, and tells the camera that their designs had to be blessed by the CEO, so go ahead and see how a new design will work out. In the end, Elena just modifies her design a bit.

Zanna comes in and says, “You all remember Michelle Smith.” They just met her a few hours ago—do you think they’d forget? What a dope. In the consultations, cost is once again the focal point. Good to see that the reality of production and sales are balancing out the world of creativity. Michelle is concerned with the cost of two pieces that Christopher is constructing. Seth Aaron tries to explain why two pieces are more expensive to construct than one—two patterns to create and cut out, two processes even if the amount of fabric is the same—but Christopher doesn’t seem to be buying it.

On the runway, it looks like Alyssa is sporting a Milly dress, and that’s a cute touch. She introduces us to this week’s rotating panel of judges. The glorious Georgina Chapman and her new collection and her perfume are back, as is Isaac Mizrahi. In addition to Michelle Smith, we also have Kristen Chenowith and Nick Cannon.

I feel nostalgic for the runway shows with 10 to 12 designs; four designs hardly seem worth getting everyone together. I love Seth Aaron’s design; not so crazy about Elena’s which we have seen multiple times before. Georgina tells Christopher that she doesn’t know who he is as a designer—and she’s been gone HOW many weeks now? Elena gets good feedback—Nick Cannon loves how easy the dress would be to get off with the big zipper in the front. She confides, “I’m so happy, I just want to cry. But I’m not going to. I’ve cried enough this season.”

Seth Aaron wins, and Elena is safe, which leaves Korto and Christopher tied for last. In the weirdest twist I’ve seen yet, Christopher and Korto are instructed to select three of their designs to remake into one new design—on the runway—in an hour. The judges leave them and the two designers drag their chosen designs and supplies and their model out to the runway, and the clock starts. It must kill them to destroy their designs, but both come up with imaginative and workable pieces. In the end, Christopher is out, and we are headed to the final, where each designer has to come up with a 6 piece collection. Here’s hoping they have longer than 2 days!

Favorite quote: “The advice boat is gone–get married to it.”–Korto

What’s in My Make-up Bag?

I was complaining to my ever-patient hairdresser about my problem styling my hair. Because I color, I don’t like to wash it more than once a week. It looks great the first day or two, but becomes quite limp and body-less after the third day. He suggested Bumble and Bumble’s Thickening Dryspun Finish, and I am officially in love.

Bumble and Bumble

A lifesaver for limp hair needing a bit of oomph.

I spritz this spray on my roots and fluff up with my fingers. It gives me flexible body at the root, and eliminates my need for hairspray in that it holds quite well. An added benefit is that it acts like a dry shampoo and absorbs some of the oil in my hair. I style it with a brush and comb, and I’m ready to roll. LOVE IT! Just a small spritz works wonders, so it is well worth the $29 at Sephora. Make way, other hair products! This baby is going into the make-up bag for good.